By Stephen Downes
July 4, 2003

Copying Troubles a Hiccup for Linux Festival
This is ridiculous. According to this item (via elearnspace), CD copiers declined to create copies of Linux distributions because of copyright agreements. The excuse offered was that the SCO case created an issue. Then it was argued that the owner of the CDs could not prove they had the rights. Both excuses are, of course, flimsy. The real reason surfaces: Microsoft has signed "no compete" causes with the copiers, prohibiting them from copying Linux distributions. To those of you in Microsoft who told me, to my face, that Microsoft has changed, I can only laugh. By Richard Wood, New Zealand News, July 1, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Relation between Ontologies and Schema-languages: Translating OIL-specifications in XML-Schema
"Ontologies provide a shared and common understanding of a domain that can be communicated between people and application systems," writes the author. A schema, meanwhile, "provides [the] basic vocabulary and predefined structuring mechanisms for providing information in XML." Consequently, "Ontologies applied to on-line information source may be seen as explicit conceptualizations that describe the semantics of the data." In other words, a schema defines what properties an object can have, while an ontology specifies the possibile values of those properties. So (very roughly) a schema would say that a car could have a "colour" while an ontology wuld say that a "colour" could be "red, orange, yellow, green, blue or purple." Ontologies can be defined using a language called OIL, or Ontology Interface Layer. The bulk of the article is devoted to explaining OIL, comparing it with XML Schemas, and showing how the two language systems interact. Tough, technical, but well worth reading. By Michel Klein, Dieter Fensel, Frank van Harmelen and Ian Horrocks, Linköping Electronic Articles in Computer and Information Science, December 31, 200-31 8:33 p.m. [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Blogger API Update
Change continues to sweep the blogging and RSS development community as Blogger (recently purchased by Google) announces that it is abandoning its old XML-RPC based application program interface (API) and is developing a new protocol based on SOAP. This change comes as a consequence of the recent Echo project, an alternative to RSS for blogs. This announcement comes by way of their brand new Blogger Developers Network blog. By Evan Williams, Blogger Developers Network, July 1, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

SPARC Open Access Newsletter
Peter Suber, who until last September published the Free Online Scholarship (FOS) news regularly, is now able to devote much more time to the same enterprise after obtaining support from SPARC. Additionally, he maintains the Open Access News blog, which has just changed its name from FOS News. This is great news, as anyone who is familiar with Suber's work will attest. By Peter Suber, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, July 4, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright © 2003 Stephen Downes
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